Travel With Me

Travel With Me

Hey there! So I have been wanting to do a travel post for a while. I love to travel, and I am generally pretty great at packing a lot of things into a small bag. I had planned on doing a ‘pack with me’ type post when we were going to Disney, but I packed so far in advance for that trip, that I had forgotten to take pictures for the post until after we were on our way to Orlando. Needless to say, that post was never done. Therefore, I am writing about what I am taking with me to Michigan.

Ever since I have been married, 98% of my trips have been to Michigan, with the vast majority of those being for just long weekends – 4 days, 5 if I was lucky,which really is just a short week, no? And normally, when I went to Michigan, I flew on Spirit because you just cannot beat the flight prices. But, if you have ever flown with Spirit, you know that you have to pay for every additional thing. Like, say, your checked or CARRIED ON BAG. That was the only thing I didn’t like about Spirit – that I had to pay for a carry-on. So, to get around that, I would pack everything in my backpack from high school. Usually it worked out really well.

But now that Peter and I live in Pensacola, and Spirit doesn’t fly into our airport, I am flying Southwest this go-round. Which means that I get two checked bags, and my carry on for free! I love that. And because I am going by myself to Michigan, I have the entire suitcase to myself. That doesn’t happen terribly often.

So, what am I taking with me for a week, and how do I pack my bags, you ask? Well, I will just tell you.

I will start with my carry-on. Now, because I am taking a full sized suitcase that I am not sharing, and it is summer, I probably don’t need a carry-on. And if you have ever flown with Southwest, there is no guarantee that, if you use the overhead bins, your carry-on suitcase will be near you. For my carry-on, I am using my backpack because I know that it fits under the seat in front of me.

In my carry-on I will have a book (Once and For All by Sarah Dessen – one of my all  time favorite authors), my sunnies (Target), my Sony camera, along with my extra batteries and charger, my camera case (Dooney and Burkes Disney Collection), my wallet (Target), and my purse (also Target). I will also have my phone charger, my chromebook, my toothbrush, contacts and solution, my glasses and case, headphones (Phillips brand, bought on Amazon), and my makeup- the orange makeup case American Eagle from 2000 maybe? And the navy case is from Ipsy sometime last fall. I don’t remember which month. Normally, I wouldn’t take my computer because I would be putting all of my clothes in the bag, but because I have so much extra space, I am this time.

In the largest compartment, I put my purse at the bottom (leaving my wallet out), then put my makeup on top of that, and then my camera, with my book standing up in front of it all. In the middle pocket, I put my computer and the charger for that. I wanted to keep that safe and cushioned on top of my other things. In the very front compartment, I put my headphones, contacts and solution, sunnies, my glasses, toothbrush and wallet. These are all things I want to be able to grab at easily and not need to dig or hunt in my bag for them. Not shown is my phone charger which will go in the smallest pocket on top of this pocket in front. I will also have a couple of those rechargeable battery packs in my bag as well, that way I don’t need to hunt for an outlet at the airport, because as anyone who travels at all will tell you, it is next to impossible to get a chance to use an outlet.

PRO TOP: Make sure that all of your batteries are fully charged for all of your electronics before you leave. You don’t want to go to use something and have it half dead or completely dead when you need it!

Onto my main suitcase. Honestly, taking this large of a suitcase by myself for a summer trip is overkill. But I plan to bring some things home from my parent’s house that I left there. Normally, I would still probably just take a carry-on size or a smaller case because I don’t even know if I have enough clothes to fill this case if I tried, after all of that purging that I did. (I should make a check in post on how that has been going.)

Because it is summer in Michigan (which will be SO nice after summer in Florida), I will have 4 tee shirts with me (from left to right: Southern Couture, HomeT, Torrid, Torrid), two tank tops (from left to right: Target – Ava and Viv, Torrid), and two pairs of capri leggings (black – Torrid, grey – Walmart).

I will have a pair of denim capris (Torrid), a swim suit (Torrid), and I have a some PJs (pink polka dot pj pants – Walmart, grey tunic – Amazon (though honestly, this top is a dress on me)).

I will have two dresses from Torrid for parties I am going to, along with a denim jacket from Old Navy. The last things that will go in the main part of my suitcase will be my blow dryer, flat iron, and selfie-stick. I am taking my Detroit hat, but I’ll wear that on the plane.

This is what it looks like when I pack my suitcase:

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I put all of my clothes in the bottom part, as well as my hair tools, and not shown yet, my flip flops. It’s nowhere near full yet. If Peter were coming, he could still put all of his things in the main compartment. In the top mesh zipper, I have all of my socks, underwear, and my swimsuit.

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In the outer pocket, I put all of my toiletries – all of the things that are liquid that I don’t want exploding all over my clothes. Starting at the top left: I have scrubbing cotton rounds, cetaphil moisturizer, Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, L’Oreal Micellular cleansing water, Clear Scalp an Hair Conditioner and Shampoo, Aussie 3-minute miracle conditioner, Secret deodorant, Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar body spray (Yes I have been wearing this since I was 16. So what?), Venus razor, Dior J’Adore perfume (which I have also been wearing since I was 16.), Vanity Planet Spin Brush, toothpaste and my night guard. If I was just taking a carry-on only, I wouldn’t take any of this. Usually I just stay with my parents, so I would use my mom’s shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste, borrow a razor if I needed it, and would just not use any perfumes. Again, I am only taking all of this because I have the space. It’s overkill, really.

When packing any liquids, I put everything into zip top gallon bags so that if it does come open or explode, the mess is mostly contained. Then I put them in the pocket away from my clothes. You can’t be too safe.

When I am planning on a trip, I try to be very organized. I did laundry over the weekend and packed everything that I knew I won’t need before tomorrow. I always shower the night before, and then dry and flat iron my hair, that way in the morning I don’t need to worry about that. Wearing my hair straight is always easiest for me, because it stays detangled and is easiest to manage that way. I never wear my hair up when I travel, because I like to sleep on planes or in the car, and having a ponytail at the back of my head is not comfortable. I save my toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and makeup for last, as I will use those the morning of my flight.

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When I travel, I try to wear super comfy clothes, and shoes that are super easy to get on and off. So I make sure to plan that ahead as well. I generally will avoid wearing any shoes with laces, and I will avoid wearing anything that I need a belt with. Comfort and ease are the keys when traveling. I also try to dress in layers. Airports and airplanes can be cold, so I like to have something to combat that, but nothing too heavy or bulky, because you’re never promised much space on a plane. Tomorrow, I have a 7am flight, with a layover. I really want to be comfortable. So I am wearing a chambray shirt (from Torrid), a black tank top (from Target) and a pair of black leggings (also Torrid). I will have on my boat shoes (which probably don’t really match, but I don’t care that much), and a hat. The shoes are great because they are slip on, but not flip flops. I don’t like walking through security barefoot, so I have some little no-no show socks I will wear with them. There are no belts or metal in this outfit, so there is nothing to trigger the x-ray scanners. And everything is easy to put on and take off. That is the key for me.

Most of this could easily be pared down to fit into my carry-on suitcase or my backpack if I needed it to. I’d ditch my hair tools, and just use my mom’s, as well as my shower toiletries,and I’d only bring one dress. I’d leave my computer at home and carry my purse on it’s own with most of those things currently in my backpack in there. If I did that, I would really only need one small case. Things would be rolled up and come out a little more wrinkled than they will in the larger case, but that is what an iron is for, right?

Next time I take a short trip, I will show how I pack for short trips. If you have any tips, leave them in the comments below.

I’ll try to update my blog when I am in Michigan as well. Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

Sam

Disney will always be magic.

Disney will always be magic.

Hi friends! I promised that I would share with you our trip to Disney World, and here it is! It may get a little lenthy. I can gush about all things Disney forever. It’s one of my favorite things ever. If you don’t know that yet, you will. I promise. 🙂

So Disney World. The place where all magic happens? Yes, indeed. The place where I met my husband, which makes it even more magical? Also, yes. Is it my favorite place in the world? Absolutely.

Way back in March (I think? Correct me if I am wrong, Ashley.) my older sister asked me to help her plan a trip to Disney World for her kids. She and her husband, Dennis, wanted to go all out, and because I worked there, they wanted my help. And, because I love Disney almost as much as I love them, I had to help without a doubt. I know a few insider secrets and things that they absolutely had to do while they were there, although a lot has changed since I worked there in 2010. And then, my sister, being the awesome and amazing big sister that she is, asked if Peter and I wanted to come with them. She offered their hotel room to us so that all we would have to do would be buy park tickets and get ourselves there. She said we could come for the entire week they were there, if we wanted, or just part. Whatever worked for us. We couldn’t turn it down! There was NO way I was going to miss Alex and Juliana’s first time at Disney World.

So, Ashley and I had many phone calls and texts back and forth, and finally, we had their entire trip planned out. The hotel was set; They were staying on property at The Art of Animation, because they decided if they were going to do Disney World, they were going to do Disney World. They had a couple reservations set, they had their park tickets, and their flights. They were excited.

Pete and I were excited as well. As it was a closing week at his job, he couldn’t take the full week off for the trip, unfortunately for me. But we were able to go Thursday through the following Monday. We would be able to spend Friday and Saturday with Ashley, Dennis and the kids, as they were leaving on Sunday morning. But it allowed Pete and I to have a day at the park just the two of us to really hit the park as hard as we wanted to. And man, did we hit it.

Once the decision was made, and all of the tickets and everything were purchased, my sister and I started counting down days. Literally.  Did I have my suitcase entirely packed two weeks before our trip? Yes. Yes, I did.

My suitcase to Disney
This was my suitcase for Disney. And yes, I wear that HomeT all the time. It’s amazing.

Finally, the end of May rolled around, and it was time for our trip. Pete and I drove for about 6 or 7 hours from Mississippi to get to Orlando, which wasn’t too bad of a drive. By the time we got there, it was around dinner time. We managed to get into my sister’s hotel room so we could change our clothes, then we drove over to Disney Springs for dinner at Earl of Sandwich, where we used to frequent. We wandered around for a while, taking in the new sights of the shopping district of Disney. That has been built up so much since we lived in Orlando! We got shakes at Ghiradelli’s, which if you haven’t done, oh, my God, go get one. What are you doing with your life?

By that time, Ashley, Dennis and the kids were on their way back to the hotel, so we drove back to meet up with them.

Let me tell you: This trip was perfect. My niece, Juliana, and nephew, Alex, are at such a great age to experience Disney World, and I felt so lucky that I was able to see them there. They are 6 and 8, respectively.

Alex, J and myself
I have to tell you guys, in this picture right here, I was in absolute HEAVEN. These two are my favorites.  (photo credit: my sister)

Our time with my sister’s family was precious to me. It had been almost 6 months since I had seen them, so I was just soaking up all of the love and cuddles and giggles that I could. We went to EPCOT first. We went on a couple rides and saw a few characters, which was really cool. I won’t lie to you: I almost cried a couple times. Ashley kept teasing me about it. Oh well. Then went back to the hotel and swam in the super cool pool at The Art of Animation Resort. We ate dinner at the hotel and then headed back to EPCOT to watch the fireworks. The next day, Alex HAD to go on Tower of Terror with me and Peter, so we went to Hollywood Studios. It was awesome. We also managed to get into The Little Mermaid show (which is like a 10 min musical show that has live actors who just sing the songs from The Little Mermaid, which happens to currently be Juliana’s favorite princess movie right now). The cast members saw that she had a birthday button on, as she turned 6 while she was at Disney World, and asked her to open the show for them. That was pretty cool.

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Once she saw Cinderella, Juliana couldn’t take her eyes off her until she finally made her way over to our table. It was perfect.

For Juliana’s birthday, we went to the Grand Floridian Resort for dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Tremaines. Seeing my niece interact with my favorite princess was the best thing that I have ever been able to see. That little girl did not want to stop looking at Cinderella. It was precious, and, while I was close to it, I did not cry. I swear.

After dinner, Peter, Dennis, and I went to Animal Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours (which is when the park closes to everyone, except those who are staying on Disney property at one of the designated Disney hotels) in hopes of getting into the new land Pandora, which is based off of the movie Avatar. Peter was extra excited to get back to Animal Kingdom because that was where he used to work. When we got there, the line to go into Pandora was already obscenely long; Peter figured it probably had about 10,000 people in it, and the park hadn’t even closed yet.  The opening of Pandora was for people staying at Disney Resorts first. It opened to the general public the next day. So we decided to wait to jump in line at Pandora until the park emptied out a little more. Instead, as much as I hate it, Dennis and Peter made me ride Dinosaur: The Ride. If you’ve never been on it, it’s awful. It’s loud, and dark, and it throws you all over the place. But not in a fun roller coaster way, because I love roller coasters. But in a way that you feel like you might fly out of the car you are in. I hate Dinosaur. But I was going to be a trooper. We made it onto the ride just in time, because they were getting ready to close. Then we ran over to Mount Everest and walked onto that ride. Literally, there was no line. It was awesome. And if you have never had the chance to ride Everest at night, oh, my God, do it. It is 100% better at night than during the day. We managed to get onto Everest twice before we investigated the line for Pandora again. By this time, the park had probably been closed to general guests for about half an hour. We jumped in line, and as all of the guests filtered through the park towards Pandora, we found out that, yes, we would get to walk through the new area, but the lines to the rides were already closed because there were too many people. The three of us decided that wasn’t worth it to us, as Dennis had an incredibly early flight in the morning with two kids, and Pete and I were planning to run around Magic Kingdom all day the next day. So we decided to head back to the hotel.

Saying goodbye to my sister’s family is never a fun thing. But I knew that I would be seeing them again this summer, so it wasn’t too bad.

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Yes, I made my husband wear a matching shirt with me. He didn’t want to. But he loves the shirt and wears it around the apartment often now. So, in the end, I was right, and that’s all that matters, right?

Peter’s and my last day was spent at Magic Kingdom. We went to dinner at one of our favorite date night restaurants, Tony’s, watched the fireworks and ran all over Magic Kingdom, just the two of us. It was pretty wonderful. It was the first time we had been back since the Fantasyland Expansion had opened up, and I was ecstatic to see that. I worked in Fantasyland when I was on my internship, and I saw them doing something of the building, so I was over the moon to see it finished. It was hot as all get out, because Florida in basically June, duh. But I loved every second of it.

As we walked around Magic Kingdom, we talked about eventually getting annual park passes, because Orlando is only around a 5 hour drive for us now that we live in Pensacola. We haven’t bought them yet, much to my chagrin. But eventually, maybe. Leaving Disney World was a sad day, because it will always hold an incredibly special spot in my heart, but we will be back.

So that was our short trip to Disney World (because in my opinion, a trip to Disney is never long enough).

 

I am still alive. I swear.

I am still alive. I swear.

Oh, my gosh. Wow. It’s been so long. I honestly don’t even have a good excuse for you guys. I just got lazy and felt like I ran out of things to write about. I am alive, I promise.

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Y’all, the SnapChat filters are my jam. I will be really sad when they go away.

But, hi. How are you? I’ve missed you! What is new? It’s summer, now. In some places that’s a wonderful thing. But I live in the south, and I am not by any means a summer baby, so it’s just hot to me. That’s not terribly fun for me. But what about you? Do you love summer? Have you done anything fun? Have you gone anywhere? I haven’t but I have plans. More on those later. Fill me in on all of your fun news, dear reader. Tell me everything! I am sure it is way more fun than I have had.

So, new with me. Well, not much. Oh! Since I saw you last, I went to Disney World! That was fun. I hinted at a trip in a previous post, and had planned on showing you how I was going to pack for that trip, but never did. Over Memorial Day, Peter and I drove from Mississippi to Orlando, FL to meet up with my sister and her family for a few days at the parks. I was going to put all of that into this post, but it was getting to be pretty lengthy. Honestly, I could talk about that trip for hours, it was just so perfect. So I decided to put that into its own post. I will include pictures, because obviously you guys want to see those, right? I am going to assume you said “Obviously, Sam! Duh!”

Cinderella's Castle

Around the same time that we went to Disney, Peter was offered a new job in Pensacola, FL, which is where he is from originally. It was a really great opportunity, so he accepted it. Unfortunately, Pensacola is a bit of a hike from where we lived in Mississippi, so we have since moved. Leaving my job sucked, but I felt so lucky to have been there for as long as I had been. I learned so much, and I loved working with one of my oldest friends every day, but sometimes you just have to make a change. So we now live in Pensacola, Florida. We moved at the end of June, and we love it. We have a nice apartment and we live in a great part of town, so we are both really happy. I haven’t started looking for a job yet, because I have a vacation planned that will eat up about two weeks of August, so I didn’t want to accept a position and tell my new job “Oh, hey, by the way, I have a huge trip planned, so I need that time off. Thanks!” So, when I am done with my vacation, I will jump into job hunting, which I hate, but it is a necessary evil.

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Honestly. SnapChat filters give me life.

Okay. This vacation. I am so excited. Next Wednesday, I am flying back to Michigan to spend a week with my family. I have not been back home since January, so I am excited to see all of my family and some friends. I am looking forward to having a week to visit with people, as opposed to the long weekends that I usually have. 5 days is so much better than two. I will show how I pack for this trip. I promise! I am a master packer, although if you really want to see me do work, you want to see me pack for a long winter weekend. Usually for those trips, I would only take a backpack. And if you live someplace that there is actual cold weather, unlike what we have here, you know how bulky winter clothes are. That is a challenge. Anyway, I digress. When I leave to come home, I am bringing my cousin, Maiya, who will be turning 18 in August, home with me to Pensacola. I am so excited to be able to do this with her for such a milestone birthday. I will actually have her on her birthday, so I need to make it extra special. We are going to go to the beach, we are going to go to the zoo (because if you say you don’t like the zoo, you’re lying.) and then we are going to spend a couple of days in New Orleans. It’s about a 4 hour drive from here to New Orleans, so we are making that the end of our trip, as she is going to fly back to Michigan from there. She is pretty excited, and I am too. If you live in the Pensacola area and know of any super fun things to do, let me know!

Other than that, nothing is too new here. I found that even though I got rid of so much stuff, moving still sucks and no matter how much you get rid of, when moving, you always have too much stuff. 100% of the time. I stand by that number. We almost didn’t have enough space in our moving truck, but that also may have been because our movers kind of sucked, which I can say because we didn’t have friends help us load the truck up. So our movers were pretty terrible at packing the truck, in addition to being over an hour late. The whole moving an entire household experience totally soured me on the prospect of ever moving again. And that was just for Peter and myself! I cannot imagine if there had been kids involved.

Anyway, I think this is enough information for right now. I will come back to you with a post about our trip to Disney, and another about getting ready to travel, because I think that will be a really fun one to write.

Hey, thanks for checking back and reading this. I know I haven’t been active at all lately. I am going to try to change that.

Talk to you soon. (I promise!)

Love,
Sam